AVON Valley Runners will start the defence of their Wiltshire Road Race League title at the Longleat 10K next month.

The Trowbridge-based club wrapped up the 2013 crown, which they also won in the inaugural season in 2012, with two races to spare, finishing 14 points clear of perennial rivals Chippenham Harriers.

The new Second Division saw Devizes Running Club secure the league title and gain promotion, along with Frome Running Club, who had entered for the first time.

Team Bath B and Salisbury A&RC A drop into the second tier for 2014.

The 2014 instalment of the series will again be sponsored by Newsquest, the parent company of the Wiltshire Times.

Its starts with the Longleat event, on Sunday, February 9 and concludes on Sunday, October 26 with the 12th and final event, the Clock Change Challenge 10K in Calne.

As well as being part of the Race League schedule, this year’s DB Max 10K at the Castle Combe circuit – on an August date still to be arranged – and the Devizes Half Marathon on Sunday, October 19 will be the Wiltshire County Champion-ship races for their respective distances.

Ewen Malloch, of Team Bath, edged out Michael Towler, of Avon Valley, to cross the line first at Longleat last year, but with Avon Valley’s Ruth Barnes first for the ladies, her club took maximum league points ahead of Team Bath and Slinn Allstars.

They repeated the trick at the Devizes 10K as Simon Plummer, of Salisbury A&RC took victory ahead of Simon Nott, of Calne Running Club, with Denise Grech, of Calne SMaRTT, the first lady.

With Plummer only appearing again to take victory at the Highworth 5, it became a fight between Nott, Malloch and Towler for individual race league honours.

Avon Valley’s Fiona Price also started to feature, taking victories at the Chippenham 5 and Springfield 5K.

Nott stormed home in 32 minutes 35 seconds at the the DB Max Wiltshire 10K at Castle Combe to claim his first county title, with Barnes retaining her 2012 crown for the distance.

The steady scoring of Avon Valley’s Jill Westwood propelled her to the position of leading individual scorer in the league, her consistency mirroring that of her club, who by race 10, the Melksham 10K, had secured the title.

The final event of the season, the Salisbury Half Marathon, also hosted the county championships for the distance, Towler taking the title along with clubmate Barnes.

Corsham RC’s Stuart Henderson and Westwood won the respective individual league titles.

  • More details about the Wiltshire Road Race League at wiltshire-athletics.org.uk.